Egypt Sentences Activist to Two Years in Jail for Video Criticizing Government for Not Protecting Women Against Sexual Harassment

Police officers standing guard in a court in Cairo. The Egyptian government has jailed thousands of Islamists, imposed tight control of the news media and rolled back freedoms.
Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

An Egyptian court has sentenced an activist to two years in jail for posting a video that criticized the government for failing to protect women against sexual harassment.

Amnesty International called the verdict against the activist, Amal Fathy, an “outrageous case of injustice.”

Ms. Fathy, a member of the now-banned April 6 youth movement that played a role in 2011 protests that forced President Hosni Mubarak from office, was also fined $562, said one of her lawyers, Tarek Abuel Nasr, and the state news agency MENA.

The court handed down a suspended sentence on Saturday, according to The Associated Press, which said that because Ms. Fathy was being held on other charges — including membership in the outlawed group — and was accused of spreading false news that threatened national security — she was not allowed to walk free.

One of Ms. Fathy’s lawyers, Doaa Mustafa, told The A.P. that she was being detained in a holding cell and was not in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.

“I went to see her after the verdict,” the lawyer said. “She was squatting at the far end of the cell, crying and screaming. She was trembling and did not want anyone to come near her.”

Ms. Fathy’s husband, Mohamed Lotfy, a rights activist and executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, said after the verdict: “This is injustice, unjustified and incomprehensible. We have provided all the evidence to prove that she didn’t spread false news.”

“When a woman is subjected to sexual harassment and gets sentenced to two years and fined, then this means we are telling all Egyptian women, ‘Shut your mouths,’” he said.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Ms. Fathy will appeal the ruling, her lawyers said.

The activist was detained in May, days after she posted a 12-minute video in which she expressed her anger at poor public services at a local bank, heavy traffic, sexual harassment by a taxi driver and a general deterioration in living conditions.

Her husband and their son, Ziad, who turned 3 last month, were also arrested, but both were released several hours later.

Amnesty International said in a statement that Ms. Fathy was a “human rights defender and sexual harassment survivor, who told her truth to the world and highlighted the vital issue of women’s safety in Egypt.” The statement added, “She is not a criminal and should not be punished for her bravery.”

Ms. Fathy is the latest target of the Egyptian authorities’ campaign against activists who speak out against the government. Since leading the military’s 2013 overthrow of an elected but divisive president — Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood — President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has overseen a crackdown on dissent.

The government has jailed thousands of Islamists, along with secular, pro-democracy advocates; imposed tight control of the news media; and rolled back freedoms won in a popular 2011 uprising. Egypt passed a law in July giving the state powers to block social media accounts and to penalize journalists held to be publishing false news.

On Friday, 17 United Nations human rights experts criticized Egypt for its use of antiterrorism laws to detain activists fighting for women’s rights and against graft, torture and extrajudicial killings.

SOURCE: Reuters

When you purchase a book below it supports the Number #1 Black Christian Newspaper BLACK CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK ONE ( and it also allows us to spread the Gospel around the world.